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People for the American Way

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People for the American Way

People For the American Way
Founded 1981
Founder Norman Lear
Type Advocacy group
Focus Progressive advocacy
Area served United States
Method Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns
Key people Norman Lear

People For the American Way (People For) is a modern liberal progressive 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.


The "Our Mission and Vision" page on their website[3] states:

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way.
Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.
We believe a society that reflects these constitutional principles and progressive values is worth fighting for, and we take seriously our responsibility to cultivate new generations of leaders and activists who will sustain these values for the life of this nation.
Our operational mission is to promote the American Way and defend it from attack, to build and nurture communities of support for our values, and to equip those communities to promote progressive policies, elect progressive candidates, and hold public officials accountable.

PFAW has been active in recent years in battles over judicial nominations and on issues including school class size, and actively support such proposals as the separation of church and state, civil rights, voting rights for Washington, DC in the U.S. Congress and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people and promotion of civic participation.[4]


PFAW was founded by television producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, etc.) in 1981 specifically in response to what he felt was the divisive rhetoric of such increasingly influential televangelists as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Co-founders included Barbara Jordan, Andrew Heiskell, and other leaders from the political, religious, business, and entertainment communities.

Figures such as actress Kathleen Turner and the Rabbi David Saperstein sit on the board of People For the American Way's affiliate foundation, People For the American Way Foundation.

The former presidents of PFAW are People for the American Way Foundation, for the purpose of conducting more extensive educational, research activities for left-wing causes.[5] Later, the People For the American Way Voter Alliance was launched as a political action committee, which, as opposed to its sister organizations, has the legal capacity to endorse candidates.

Scope of activity

Located in Washington, D.C., People For the American Way monitors what it characterizes as "right-wing" activities, conducting rapid response, political lobbying, and volunteer mobilization. In addition, the organization's affiliated foundation (People For the American Way Foundation) runs programs designed for voter education and politically progressive infrastructure building. PFAW Foundation programs include Young People For, which identifies, trains, and supports future progressive leaders; the Young Elected Officials Network, which identifies and supports progressive elected officials from around the country who are under the age of 35; and African American Religious Affairs, which mobilizes and supports progressive activism in African American congregations and communities.


  • Michael Keegan, President
  • Nick Ucci, Chief Operating Officer
  • David J. Perlman, Chief Financial Officer
  • Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program Planning

Board Members, People For the American Way

Board Members, People For the American Way Foundation

Notable staff

Coalitions, partnerships, and joint ventures

PFAW is a member of a number of progressive coalitions surrounding various issues, and it sometimes conducts joint campaigns with other organizations. Some of these partners and projects include:

Young People For

Young People For (YP4) is a leadership development program for young progressives and provides organizational and financial support for social justice work.[6]


  1. ^ OpenSecrets: People for the American Way.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent, Thomas C. Hunt & James C. Carper & Thomas J. Lasley II & C. Daniel Raisch.(link) 2010, Sage Publications. ISBN 9781412956642
  3. ^ Our Mission and Vision | People For the American Way
  4. ^ "Rehnquist's death, and what comes next". Salon. September 4, 2005. 
  5. ^ Glanz, James (March 11, 2000). "Survey Finds Support Is Strong For Teaching 2 Origin Theories". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "About YP4". Young People For. Retrieved April 5, 2011. 

External links

  • Official website
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